(By Aaron Autin, Department of Art senior majoring in painting)
Eight fine art and two photography students have come together to create the Mississippi State University BFA Fine Art and Photography Thesis Exhibition, “Commune,” displaying the culmination of years of hard work and study.
On Nov. 15 at 5:30 p.m. the public is invited to a reception at the Department of Art Gallery on the first floor of McComas Hall, where the students will be introduced at 6:15 p.m.
The reception will continue in the Colvard Student Union Fine Art Gallery from 6:45–7:15 p.m., and the celebration will end at the Visual Arts Center Gallery, located at 808 University Dr., at 8 p.m.
The work will be on display from Nov. 13–17 in the McComas and Visual Arts Center galleries and through Nov. 30 in the Union gallery.
About the show
“Commune” connects art with people in a deeper way than ordinary communication devices. We are fortunate to live at a time where we have the ability to talk to someone on any point of the globe with the push of a button. Our cultures are more connected now than at any other time in human history. But what does it really mean to commune? Is our ability to communicate limited to the sound of our voice or length of a fiber optic cable? “Commune” is these art students’ attempt to reconcile these questions and others about the very nature of communication.
Ten students have developed a body of artwork over a semester through coursework in Art 4093 Thesis or in a Photography Portfolio II class. Guided by an emphasis professor in Advanced Studio, Professor Brent Funderburk (Fine Art Thesis Coordinator) and Marita Gootee (Photography Coordinator) as well as individual faculty committees of three members, these seniors are expected to work as a team to learn professional processes, produce an exhibition and to handle all exhibit design, installation, documentation, portfolio and publicity requirements associated with the capstone presentation.
Exploring the formal elements of texture and how they communicate to an audience, AAron Autin is producing a series of paintings inspired by elements from the periodic table. His paintings are an attempt to impart the physical properties of the elements into his work so that within the series, a pattern of texture relationships will occur. These patterns are the communication of scientific principals in the context of art.
Emily Hobart is employing the medium of ceramics to create fragile, delicate forms to represent emotional barriers. Drawing upon her own personal experiences, she is arranging these ceramic forms around hidden objects that represent ‘secrets’ that she has tried to conceal in the past. With her installations, she is trying to convey that even though we all hide pieces of ourselves away from others, sometimes they can see through the cracks.
Eschewing the traditional tools of palette and brush, Amanda Jefcoat employs a poured paint method to create memories. Creating very organic shapes with this process, she is developing a language between those shapes and the unique knowledge and experience of the viewer. These experiences and memories cause the viewer to see imagery within the amorphous shapes that another may not.
Painting an inaccessible nature that captures the rhythm and flow of an edgeless environment, Anna Katherine Phipps constructs abstract works of the natural world. Her fantastical, patterned shapes collide with fluid watercolor to convey the flux of forces that take color. Through variety in scale and medium, she creates a unity of space to journey an amusing play of organic forms.
“I want to communicate that we are all more alike than we seem” is how drawing major Sarah Qarqish describes her artwork for exhibition. Inspired by a personal, multicultural journey of her own, Sarah is creating an installation that will communicate the experiences of life and her search for a balance between two unique ancestries.
Being of Middle Eastern and American descent, Sarah describes her process as “finding a balance between line works to make a beautiful composition, which is symbolic of the two cultures finding common ground.”
Inspired by the Islamic Ebru technique, Sarah is shooting video footage of marbleizing; however, in place of traditional inks and dyes, she is floating spray paint on water. Suspended in front the marbleization footage, will be a more controlled, intricate stencil that has a graphic quality. Together they will create an installation that literally surrounds the viewer with not only the intensity and chaos of this journey, but also the peace and harmony that is found at the end of it.
“Commune,” Sarah explains, “is about people interacting, working together and bringing each other together. I feel like my concept reflects that very idea.”
Lindsey Rushing’s paintings are a departure from the norms of the watercolor medium. Instead of the traditional canvas/wood panel supports hung on the wall and lit from above, she is using light as a medium through self-lit structures to support the paintings. These paintings, whose subjects are deep sea creatures, are about the relationship of transparency vs. opacity, beauty vs. sublime and the deconstruction of the subject and medium through various presentations of the form. By taking her work on and off the wall, she is exploring the unusual ways that paintings can communicate with their viewers.
One student is using figurative sculpture and intervals of space to communicate with her audience. By giving the viewer a specific place to sit and by manipulating the space between the viewer and the figure, Charlotte Smith is hoping to create a tension that evokes specific emotions. With her sculptures, she is exploring the impact space can have on the idea of comfort and discomfort, connection and disconnect of the objects within the piece.
Using photography to communicate the relationship a place can have with its inhabitants, Dawn Taylor is having a conversation with her home. She is setting up a mood of anxiety/monotony that questions the viewer’s perception and preconceived notions of home and residence. Her photographs are an exploration of the disconnect that can be felt toward a home and the absence of a feeling of permanence within it.
Using a variety of pigments and materials, Jesse Thames shows us a frantic obsession with the interconnectivity between mystery, atmosphere, humans, nature and its products, and even human industrialization. She harnesses the universe’s energies to help create art and help the Universe with its own painting. Her circular, or “tondo,” paintings are her own communication with infinity.
Rebekah Trotter uses photography to depict the effects of acute anxiety. Anxiety causes people to over think every action and consequence until it overwhelms them, and we look for the simplest way to solve a problem. This is not always the best or most efficient action, but in order to continue working, people are forced to go with the compulsion. With her work, she conveys the agitation and eventual surrender to this disorder, amid the constant struggle to function and find herself in spite of the anxiety that clouds and blurs her identity.
“Commune” is supported by the Mississippi State University College of Architecture, Art, and Design, the MSU Department of Art, the Colvard Student Union and the participating art students.
For more information, contact the MSU Department of Art at 662-325-2970.